Example

I honestly see no reason for hating WordPress. Millions of people simply can’t be wrong. Just look at the numbers. 13,800,000 blogs running as self-hosted installations, and 13,900,000 active blogs on wordpress.com (2010 data). Of the top 1 million websites (according to Alexa) 12.4% use WordPress. That’s a whopping 124,000 of them.

But still, you don’t have to be preaching WordPress if you don’t want to. So if you’re about to launch a new website you might as well use a different web content management system (CMS). Or don’t use any CMS at all, and build the site from the ground up with pure PHP and HTML. Although this is probably not the best possible idea since there are tons of great systems out there.

Here’s a list of 13 top web content management systems you should consider if you’re not really into this WordPress thing.

1. Joomla!

(http://www.joomla.org/)

I had been a Joomla! (don’t forget about the exclamation mark) programmer for a couple of years before I switched to WordPress. Joomla! is an advanced, full-blown open source content management system that powers 2.7% of the entire web (as it’s claimed on joomla.org). Joomla! provides many functions you would expect from a CMS, plus has an impressive directory of extensions (8,065 of them at the time of writing). This CMS is great for all sorts of corporate websites or portals, online magazines, e-commerce stores, small business websites, and other.

If you want a social proof here’re some websites that use Joomla!: http://gsas.harvard.edu, http://www.outdoorphotographer.com, http://www.quizilla.com.

2. Drupal

(http://drupal.org/)

An open source platform as well. Drupal is close to the top of this list not without a reason. It’s a great CMS for building corporate websites, information portals, enterprise applications and even blogs. Plus, you can choose from more than 8,000 modules (extensions).

Some websites that use Drupal: http://www.fastcompany.com/, http://www.popsugar.com/, http://www.symantec.com/connect/, http://www.observer.com/.

3. CMS Made Simple

(http://www.cmsmadesimple.org/)

The name itself is pretty self-explanatory. CMS Made Simple is the winner of the “overall best open source CMS award 2010” by Packt Publishing. It’s a scalable platform (suited both for small businesses and large corporations) and provides a really big list of features. Some of them are: SEO friendly URLs, user and group management, multiple language support, multiple themes per website, forms, polls, newsletters, guestbookÖ there’s no point to mention every single feature here, just go to cmsmadesimple.org and find out for yourself.

4. Plone

(http://plone.org/)

First non-PHP CMS on this list. Plone runs on Python. But what it runs on is not important to the end user. What is important though is its simple and easy to use interface. “Elegant minimalism” they call it. The new version of Plone is claimed to be 50% faster than the previous one and to be one of the fastest open source CMS platforms on the market. Its many features and constantly growing community makes it the top non-PHP choice.

5. XOOPS

(http://www.xoops.org/)

Back to PHP systems. Easy to use, feature-rich, and fully modularized ñ this pretty much sums it up. Some interesting features are: expanded users management and theme-based GUI (with over 1,000 currently available themes).

6. PHP-Nuke

(http://www.phpnuke.org/)

This one is old-school. It was one of the most popular systems when I was starting out as a PHP programmer. Fortunately, it hasn’t been forgotten and it’s still developed by a devoted community. The counter on phpnuke.org indicates more than 8,450,000 downloads, which is impressive to say the least.

7. e107

(http://www.e107.org/)

“e107, it’s pimp, init?” ñ one of the random sentences you see when you visit e107.org. This is a great, developer-friendly CMS with many interesting features, and if you think there’s something missing you can suggest a new feature. There’s a special section on the site for that. If you happen to be a product owner yourself then here’s a hint ñ there’s no better way of showing your community that you care than by letting them suggest new ideas for improvement.

8. Magnolia CMS

(http://www.magnolia-cms.com/)

It’s targeted mainly towards business users, so it’s no surprise it’s the CMS of choice for many government and large corporate websites. Among its many features there’s a possibility to preview content exactly as it would be seen by the website visitor. If you’ve been working with other CMS platforms you know that it’s not always the case. Sometimes it’s quite difficult to explain to your client why in the end the content looks differently from what they see in the editor. No such problem here.

9. dotCMS

(http://dotcms.com/)

This one is a Java-based content management system. You can choose from two available versions (free ñ Community version, and paid ñ Enterprise version). Similar to every CMS on this list this one provides a wide range of features as well. You can use it to manage small, micro-sites as well as large online magazines. If you’d like something built around Java this is basically the route to go.

10. b2evolution

(http://b2evolution.net/)

This is a blog content management system (similar to WordPress). Free and open source. It provides some classic, blog features but also many additional ones. It lets you manage files and photos, launch multiple blogs, use detailed user permissions and more. Of course, there’s a lot of available plugins too.

11. CuteNews

(http://cutephp.com/)

If you need something really simple you should consider this CMS. It’s basically just a news management system that uses some standard files instead of a normal database (like MySQL for example). Somehow it still manages to support things like commenting, archives, search function, file uploads, and even backup and restore.

12. CushyCMS

(http://www.cushycms.com/)

This CMS is probably one of the easiest to use platforms on this list. A “truly simple CMS” as the authors say. And it’s hard to disagree. I was really surprised when I learned how the CMS works because it uses none of the industry-standard ideas. The first surprising thing is that there’s no software to installÖ yea, how about that? I encourage you to find out for yourself. The video on cushycms.com is just 5 minutes.

13. Nucleus CMS

(http://nucleuscms.org/)

Basically a blog content management system running on PHP and MySQL (same as WordPress). What’s interesting about it is the fact that you can use it to launch multiple sites with a single installation. If you like to you can extend it with a number of plugins (which is kind of a standard for top-shelf CMS platforms these days). One of the more interesting features is the possibility to backup and restore the whole database with just a single click.

Which one is the best?

There’s no best or worst here. If you need a good, feature-rich, and safe content management system you can go with either one from this list. It’s best to check them all out and see which one appeals to you the most. And when you do, don’t forget to come back and let me know in the comments which one is it.

P.S. My favorite one is still WordPress sorry.

About the author: Karol K. (@carlosinho) is a 20-something year old web 2.0 entrepreneur from Poland who hates to work but loves to train capoeira. But anyway, tune in to get his blogging tips and tutorials.

Example

Blogging and WordPress do a lot of great things together. Search engines love the code and regularly updated content, writters find it easy to publish their content and sites are relatively easy to navigate and find what you want. In the web world, that is a pretty strong formula for success.

However, there is one plaguing problem in blogging platforms and structure that frustrates the hell out of bloggers over time.

We spend all of this time putting together articles that are meant to inform, entertain and help people only to find that a year later they are buried in the archives for no one to find. With regularly updated content, our timeless content continues to be pushed down the line making it harder to find by new readers and search engines alike. The easy fix is to remember these articles and link to them within new relevant articles, but how can we start to easily leverage social media to get those same articles in front of the eyes of our followers?

I started searching around to find a tool to do this for me as I do not want to be spending hours of my day scheduling these posts (I have better things to do that generate more income). After looking at the features of several different options, I landed on one that had what I needed and started the testing process.

WordPress Plugin: Tweet Old Post

First, let me start by saying I typically do not like automated systems. They tend to be very impersonal and everyone knows when you are using one even if you think they do not. If something is going to be automated, it needs to be highly configurable and able to integrate into more personal atmospheres easily by providing value.

I uploaded Tweet Old Post to my WordPress install of Blogging Labs and started the configuration process. Luckily, this free plugin allows you to do several essential tasks that make it usable for me in this application.

Timing of Old Post Tweets

You can set the random times that tweets go out to your followers. Part of the reason that Twitter is the perfect testing ground for a system like this is because the timeline moves quick enough that you will not be annoying people and it has a viral aspect to it that you hope your articles start to get retweeted. If you do it too often, people will ignore your links and unfollow you, so setting a random time for these tweets to hit your timeline hours apart does wonders for not looking like spam.

Excluding Categories

One of the biggest things I needed in a plugin such as this one was the ability to exclude entire categories from being tweeted out. Information that was tweeted from my archives needed to be timeless to still be relevant. I did not want old articles that are no longer applicable to today’s environment to get tweeted out because that would look terrible as it has zero value to my followers.

Omit WordPress Categories

By being able to exclude categories, I can remove blocks of archives that should not be tweeted, or I do not feel provide enough value to my timeline. As you can see from my excluded lists, I tried to keep any articles from my archives to blogging tips, tutorials and advice.

Exclude Specific Posts

To fine tune the process even further, there were posts that I didn’t necessarily want retweeted within those categories as well for one reason or another.

Omit Specific WordPress Posts

Tweet Old Post allows you to also omit specific articles from being sent out to your followers automatically. Another great feature that I needed to insure the quality of the tweets would be at their highest.

After you have everything setup, an automated tweet ends up looking like this on your timeline.

Tweet from Tweet Old Post

A Couple Of Things To Keep In Mind…

Before you jump in headfirst and never look back, keep these couple of things in mind.

  • If you are going to set something like this up, you need to have some archives to pull from. As you can see, I really fine tuned my process, but if that came down to a dozen or so post by the time I was done, I would be sending out a very small number of articles over and over again. Talk about annoying for anyone that is following you.
  • You also need to gauge reactions within your Twitter following to see how people are taking the automation. In my @robbsutton account, the change was actually taken in very well and I am now getting traffic and RT’s into my older content…which was the goal. I even started asking around to followers to see what they thought and the overall reaction was positive.
  • I do not think this kind of automation would work with Facebook. The timeline does not move fast enough to keep you from clogging the system and in the end you would end up annoying friends and family at the same time. Saying that…if you have your Facebook account linked to your Twitter account so when you send out a tweet it updates your Facebook page, I would break that link before you start testing this out.

Overall, I have been happy with the result as I am always looking for ways to bring people to content that has been buried down over time. There are not very many efficient ways to get this accomplished, but Tweet Old Post seems to do a really good job by leveraging the fast moving timeline of Twitter. It’s highly configurable backend is the only reason I believe you can really make an automated system like this work.

But…just remember…you need to actually converse with your Twitter followers as well and RT other content. Your entire timeline can not be just automated tweets of your own content if you want to be successful with that online medium.

Download Tweet Old Post for free here.

Example

Like it or not, your readers have ADD. In a world where instant gratification and the complete lack of in depth attention to details plagues the general public, it is our job as the blogger to capture attention and keep it long enough to get our point across with our content. I bet right now you are looking for ways to scan this article to see if you can get the relevant information quickly to see if it will help your blogging. By using attention grabbing elements in your content like bold headlines, catchy titles and other style elements, you are able to keep your readers on your pages longer by interacting not only with words…but visually.

What Are Shortcodes?

Shortcodes have come about in recent WordPress themes to help bloggers style their content in an easy to digest manner without having to know any coding. Before, the designer would have to build in certain styling aspects into the CSS of the theme and then the blogger would have to know how to call that css within an article without calling out any complex code (typcially RSS feeds break on some code and WordPress won’t actually recognize it within an article).

A [highlight color=”yellow”]shortcode[/highlight] is a WordPress-specific code that lets you do nifty things with very little effort. Shortcodes can embed files or create objects that would normally require lots of complicated, ugly code in just one line. Shortcode = shortcut.

So what do you end up with? When you type something that looks like this (note the brackets around the text)…

[onehalf] Testing out shortcodes with 1/2 columns. [/onehalf] [onehalf last=”last”] Hey look! Another 1/2 column! [/onehalf]

That ends up looking like this on your article. (Note: The following code was generated via a plugin you are about to see below and is not apart of the stock WordPress install or with my current theme.)

[one_half] Testing out shortcodes with 1/2 columns. [/one_half] [one_half last=”last”] Hey look! Another 1/2 column! [/one_half]

By using brackets that call CSS elements in your code, you are able to simplify the process and use a predetermined library of functions to call out whatever you want to in your article. Basically, you are drastically simplifying the process of making your content easier to read while being able to grab more attention to elements that you deem important.

The Problem For The Blogger (You)

While shortcodes are an incredible way to create more engaging content, up until this point…most themes did not come with a library of shortcodes for you to choose from. Recently, themes from WooThemes and Theme Forest have started integrating shortcodes into their themes to give bloggers more options within their content. While this is great, it also runs into a unique problem for the blogger down the road. What if you want to change your theme to a different brand or custom option? All of the shortcodes that you setup within your content will become obsolete and your readers will see the brackets instead of the styling on all old articles!

One of the reasons I push WordPress so much for bloggers is the extensive ability to install plugins to enhance the WordPress experience. When you go to change how your site looks on the screen, your plugins go with your site as you update the look. The guys over at WPSwitch came up with an awesome plugin that makes your life much easier with shortcodes. With over 100 of different options, looks and tables, you are able to make columns, insert alerts, make picture slideshows and a whole host of other options to make your content more engaging. The best part…it operates independent of your theme via a plugin so you do not have to worry about transferring your shortcode styling when you change themes in the future. It is all integrated and ready to go once you hit the activate link.

To show you how easy this plugin is to use, I have put together this short screencast to show you how The Shortcode Kid plugin for WordPress operates.

If you are looking for an easy way to create more engaging content on your blog, I highly recommend the use of The Shortcode Kid plugin. It makes life much easier to create and manage shortcodes within your content and by using a plugin…you insure that the shortcodes will be compatible across future design needs. At $40.00 for the plugin, it is a premium option, but it adds a lot of value to your blog (future updates and additions to the plugin are free when you purchase).

Check out the rest of the shortcode options and pricing by clicking here.

Example

The #1 way to make money online is to sell your own products. Every single top blogger in the world has their own product of some kind, whether it be physical or digital. For most bloggers, the jump into their own product is normally in the form of an eBook or other digital product that your readers can purchase and download instantly, and I highly recommend you look into this form of monetization if you have not already.

However, there is one HUGE mistake that most bloggers make when looking to sell their own products online.

#1 Blogger Mistake: Bloggers often rely on their blog to be the sales page for their products.

If you are doing this right now, I already know what you are thinking. Why? Because I have been there.

  • You don’t want the reader to leave your site or your content.
  • You don’t know how to design a sales page or at least how to do one easily and cheaply.
  • You don’t have the time to set one up right now and the quickest way was to create a page on your blog.

Where is the flaw in using a page on your blog as the sales page for your eBook?

There are far too many distractions on your blog to keep high conversion rates on your products.

Think about it…the same reasons you want to keep the sales page on your blog are the same reasons it will not sell well. When your potential customer lands on your page, they need to have only one thing in mind…”what is this product, how will it benefit me and am I going to buy it for that price.” If that same potential customer also sees a list of your recent articles, navigation or worse…ads like Adsense, you are inviting them to find something else to do other than buy your product.

Sales Pages vs. Squeeze Pages

What is the difference between a sales page and squeeze page? At the end of the day…not much really. Each one is setup basically the same way, but they have a different end goal for the visitor of that page.

  • Squeeze Pages: Dedicated page to getting the opt-in to your newsletter. (ex: Problogging Is Dead)
  • Sales Pages: Dedicated page to converting sales of your product or service. (ex. Ramped Reviews)

So whether you are going for an opt-in to your newsletter or a sale of your product, sales and squeeze pages are going to convert at higher rates due to their design.

How To Create Sales & Squeeze Pages

Ideally, we would like to not have to hire a designer or operate outside of WordPress for our squeeze and sales pages, so when I went looking around for themes to accomplish this goal for me…I ran across OptimizePress. Not only did it promise to make my sales and squeeze page process much easier, but it also has some drip marketing, video and membership site features that I plan on using in the future.

Stats on OptimizePress:

  • Squeeze Page Building System – Create high impact squeeze page designs from a range of 10 templates, all tested and proven to convert – so you get more people on your mailing list fast!
  • Sales Letter & Offer Page Building System – Easily create sales letters, offer pages, bonus pages and more, with our unique point and click system. Now you can have pages that look like a pro-designer has created them, for a fraction of the price!
  • Launch Builder System – Use our unique launch page development system to create pre-launch and launch pages that boost response, with advanced features like integrated facebook comments, twitter sharing and more! Add your videos, headlines and call to action buttons with one-click! These pages will get your market buzzing about your product launch fast (this means more money for you when you go live!)
  • Add video to your pages with one click – just paste in your video URL (from Amazon S3 or similar) or use video from Youtube, Vimeo, Viddler or any other video hosting site. Using video is proven to boost response and conversions!
  • Unique iPad & iPhone Video compatibility – OptimizePress has been developed with a unique system to ensure your videos will also work on iPads and iPhones, which are fast becoming popular browsing platforms. Simply enter the URL of your video encoded in the correct format, and OptimizePress will do the rest!
  • Shortcodes Sales Letter Elements – Easily add extra headlines, subheadlines, bullet blocks, content boxes, order boxes and more to your sales letters and offer pages with our point and click shortcodes – no more messy HTML and CSS!
  • Cross Browser Compatible – All our designs are coded with the latest HTML and CSS standards, and have been tested on all the latest browsers (and some older ones too!). This means more people will be able to access your pages and see them as you desired!
  • Built in SEO features – We know SEO is important to you, so we’ve integrated some of the most popular SEO features such as setting the title tags, descriptions, keywords and more for each of your pages individually, without the need for plugins (of course you can use your favourite plugins too if you wish!)

Basically, you install the theme and start the process of creating your page through the use of short codes. It also perfectly integrates with all of the major newsletter service providers (I use Aweber) if you are looking to create a squeeze page or easily capture the contact information of your customers.

Just to show you how easy this theme is to use, I have put together this quick video that gives you a look at the backend in the page creation screen. Now…keep in mind…this is a very simplistic look as you can really expand on the features of OptimizePress to make it your own.

What Have Been My Results?

Over the past month, I have converted all of my sales and squeeze pages on Blogging Labs and Bike198 over to OptimizePress. Overall, my conversion rates have increased about 20% just by having better looking, easier to setup sales pages for my eBooks. I am going to start split testing different content to see how I can get my conversions even higher, but so far I am incredibly happy with the result and ease of setup with this theme. Everything you need, from graphics packages to all of the icons and buttons, are included with the theme and the settings are easy to understand. If you have installed a WordPress theme in the past…you should have zero problem getting this setup.

At $97.00, it is on the high end of WordPress themes these days, but I do believe it is worth it as I have barely even scratched the surface of what it is capable of. Also, the increase in sales has more than offset the price of the theme which makes it worth it on its own. If you are looking for a high-quality, easy to setup option for your sales and squeeze pages, OptimizePress is an incredible option. Through my entire testing period, I only had one glitch and that was fixed with the latest update (the add to cart buttons were not working in Chrome…but that is fixed now) and the support has been incredible. Anyone can setup high converting pages with OptimizePress.

Click here to see the rest of OptimizePress’s features or purchase.